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For years, Samsung Semiconductor was the exclusive supplier of Apple’s A-series Systems on a Chip (SoCs) — the heart and brains of every iOS device since the original iPad and its zippy A4 debuted back in 2010. But as competition and legal warfare between the world’s two largest smartphone manufacturers increased, Apple slowly drifted away from reliance on Samsung to fill its A-Series SoC orders, opting instead to slowly but surely make Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) its exclusive A-series SoC vendor.
Samsung appears eager to make a comeback now, and ultimately capture a slice of Apple’s A13 SoC orders from TSMC — banking on the development of technologies including its advanced InFO (integrated fan-out) packaging and extreme ultraviolet lithography, or EUV, according to a DigiTimes report published this week.
TSMC has reportedly succeeded at building-out its in-house InFO technology based around the firm’s 7nm SoC architecture, which Apple has cleared for use in its upcoming 2018 iPhone lineup as the A12 SoC.
Samsung is reportedly in “full throttle” mode now, as it hopes to rejoin Apple’s mobile SoC supply chain in 2019 by luring the iPhone-maker into its court and away from full reliance on TSMC.
To bolster its case, Samsung has even decreased its order quotes for 7nm SoCs built upon the firm’s EUV technology by as much as 20 percent, in hopes of capturing business from multiple smartphone makers, including Apple; although it’s so far received “little response” from anyone, DigiTimes sources noted.
This may be due to concerns over quality and yield risks still associated with the implementation of next-generation EUV technology, which is essentially an advanced method of printing circuitry on the chips, themselves.
According to DigiTimes, however, while TSMC has boasted that its InFO method “reduces the thickness of chip packaging while improving processor speed and power dissipation,” the firm is still struggling to implement EUV in its own 7nm chips, which could ultimately delay their full deployment of EUV — a move that could potentially give Samsung a shot at swooning Apple.
Despite losing out on Apple’s mobile SoC business in recent years, Samsung still enjoys a somewhat healthy business relationship with the Cupertino-company. It supplies (and will continue to supply) advanced Super Retina OLED display panels for the iPhone X, as well as Apple’s upcoming iPhone X replacement and its considerably larger counterpart — known as the iPhone X Plus until further notice.
Whether or not the South Korean tech juggernaut will be able to win back Apple’s chip orders in 2019 remains to be seen, but DigiTimes sources noted that Samsung will likely first debut the aforementioned technology in its upcoming Galaxy S10 smartphone flagships before making it available to other vendors like Apple.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]